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2011 Buildings

City of Calgary, Alberta

Renovation of the Historic Calgary Public Building

The 79-year-old Calgary Public Building required extensive renovation to continue as a home for the performing arts and a healthy workplace for City of Calgary staff. The Calgary Public Building was protected as a Municipal Historic Resource in 1996. By choosing to renovate and upgrade this “grande dame,” Calgary wanted to preserve a heritage landmark in the downtown core for future generations.

In 2008, the city began upgrades to the heating, cooling and electrical systems. Six of the building’s eight floors were “re-skinned” — insulation was added to the inside walls along with a second layer of high-performance windows. The goal was to improve both energy efficiency in the building and the health and safety of more than 300 city employees. Where possible, the city chose to reuse and recycle rather than buy new or demolish. The renovation has preserved the exterior of an historic building in the downtown core and reaped significant environmental impacts.


  • The renovation has lowered operating costs by 46 per cent, and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 54 per cent.
  • The city has achieved LEED® Gold certification for the building and is awaiting the results of its application for LEED Platinum certification for Commercial Interiors.
  • Low-flow toilets and automatic faucets have reduced water use by 45 per cent.
  • Fifty per cent of construction waste was diverted from landfill sites.
  • Evacuated glass tube technology (solar powered) supplies 60 per cent of the building's hot water.
  • Heat for the building will be supplied through Calgary's downtown district energy system (DES) once the DES lines are extended to the building (expected in 2011).
  • All windows in the building open and close.
  • The renovation won the 2010 Calgary Heritage Authority's Lion Award in the building restoration category.


Page Updated: 21/12/2015